What if a Scammer Steals My Personal Information and Uses It?

person working on a tablet As data breaches become more prevalent, keeping your information safe and secure from scammers and identity thieves is becoming increasingly difficult. When companies entrusted with our Personally Identifiable Information (PII) breach that trust and your identity is used in an online scam, you may be wondering what your legal options may be for getting your finances and life back in order.

Our knowledgeable data breach attorneys in Sacramento can discuss this during a free consultation. Below, we discuss how a data breach can lead to identity theft and how this can significantly impact your life.

How Do Data Breaches Occur?

Generally, data breaches occur when malware is installed into a server, usually an internal server, that gathers information from it and downloads it to another digital location. The servers can be accessed by criminals/scammers in several ways, including:

  • Insider leaks, which occurs when an individual entrusted with access to the servers knowingly installs malware to commit cyber theft.
  • Exploitation of vulnerabilities, which occurs when cyber criminals find loopholes in the cybersecurity of a company to gain access to its servers.
  • Phishing scams, which occur when company employees unknowingly click on links that install malware into servers.
  • Password hacking, which occurs when hackers guess less secure passwords to gain access to emails and other company records.

For companies that provide employees with devices, such as cellphones, tablets or computers, the vulnerability may be greater if the devices are misplaced by the employees and hackers gain access to them.

What Happens When Personal Information is Leaked in a Data Breach?

Once your personal information is leaked in a data breach, there are a number of individuals who may gain access to it. This could be because your PII was posted to a dark web forum for anyone to use or it could have been sold to scammers who can steal your identity. In either case, your personal information could be made available on the internet to whoever is willing to use it.

In some cases, fraudsters may use your PII to file for loans, credit cards or government assistance under your name. In California, a woman’s identity was used by scammers to receive unemployment benefits in 2020.

These scams can lead to serious consequences for the victims who may be left with debt, poor credit scores or thousands of dollars in liens due to back taxes. This was the case with the woman in California who was left on the hook for over $16,000 for unemployment checks she never received.

Not only can your identity be stolen when your PII is leaked in a data breach, but you may also be vulnerable to scammers yourself. Sometimes the only information about you included in a data breach leak may be your name and phone number.

Cyber criminals may still try to use this to call you and scam you out of money. For example, they might call you to falsely claim that you owe money to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or Social Security Administration. Many people, especially the elderly, have fallen victim to these scams and lost their life savings.

What Are My Legal Options if My Personal Information is Breached?

Companies have a duty to keep client information stored safely and securely to avoid it being leaked to potential cyber criminals. When companies fail to do this, they could be financially liable for any damages you suffer as a result of their negligence. You may be able to file a lawsuit to recover compensation.

However, to successfully recover your damages, you need to prove the company’s negligent cyber security led to the data breach that directly affected you. One way to prove this is if the company did not encrypt sensitive information.

Depending on the facts of your case, there are different ways to go about filing a claim and negotiating your compensation before filing a lawsuit. It would be in your best interest to speak to our attorneys as soon as possible to find out more about your legal options.

Call an Attorney Today for Legal Assistance

If your PII was exposed in a data breach and cyber criminals gained access to it, you may be able to take legal action to hold the company that allowed the breach accountable. Our knowledgeable attorneys are prepared to help you through the legal process.

We offer a free consultation to discuss your claim to determine the legal options that may be available to you.

Call 916-777-7777 to schedule a free consultation.